Is this real life? Have I actually finished an entire weekend's worth of music show recaps for the first time since last year? Yes! Comeback week for SISTAR and 4Minute come to and end, and EXO are on to regular promotions (as in one song only) today.
Before we start though, there's something I'd like to clarify. I, personally and "professionally", do not believe in the concept of "MR Removed" videos as a basis for vocal talent and outstanding live performance. The reason why live performances can be used as a measure of ability is because anything can happen in those five minutes, and everything does happen. Compared to a studio where almost everything can be controlled, live performances are unpredictable, and it's an act's ability to perform along with, and over, those unpredictable events, that I critique on my music show recaps. The minute you tamper with any part of that performance, or any music or video file for that matter, so much can happen, and you lose a part of the original performance. And besides, I also judge performances based on the amount of variables in a given time frame. Take them away, and no considerations, and less complaints, will be made.
Now, if you watch them and personally see merit in them, I have no problem with that -- you are entitled to a choice, and you should take it. I respect you and your decision, however, when you comment on these recaps, please also take my stand into consideration, the same way I take yours in writing my recaps.
EXO-K - "MAMA"
And I see we're back to lip-syncing, EXO. Before you all crawl out and correct me again, I know that this was pre-recorded last week. And yes, I have yet another complaint. EXO are a new group. We're all at the edge of our seats trying to calculate how good they are, and more importantly, how fast and how much they improve. How are we supposed to do that when the people upstairs insist on one, hiding their real, live vocals, two, keeping them in controlled environments, and three, pre-recording performances weeks before airing? Yes, we've seen them sing live. Twice. But at this stage the most important thing is that we are able to track their progress. This performance is one week old. So much has happened between then and now -- they could have improved, or not. But, nevertheless, my general comments on their performances still stand. They look robotic, and they don't look enthusiastic.
BTOB - "Insane"
The best way to improve is to keep performing, and that's what I like about BTOB -- always singing live, always trying. Though they have so many things to iron out, and their group dynamic isn't that obvious, what's obvious though is that they're trying, and if you remember, it's that same effort that made BEAST into what they are today. We'll see.
NU'EST - "FACE"
NU'EST is another group who shows effort and has managed to impress me in the process. My standards have definitely dropped over time, but honestly, all these new groups have to show me is one, consistent, actual, live vocals, and they also have to show me that they want to be on stage, that standing there is a privilege they want. It's one thing to feel that way, and I understand that everyone probably feels that way, but it's another thing to actually show it on stage. A little crack there from the guy who sang before the bridge, which also gave away the fact that this is live, but other than that, another strong performance.
Spica - "Painkiller"
Strong vocals like this really need better material, because again, while they can carry the song perfectly fine, the song still does nothing for them in return.
SISTAR - "Lead Me" + "Alone"
Judging by today's performance of "Lead Me", which was actually pretty good, I get the impression that SISTAR not only need more classy choreography, but they should move less. The set was actually really quaint, and the entire performance is much better when they just walk here and there and occasionally dance. As usual, Hyorin sounded great on both songs, and actually, "Alone" sounds a lot better live than it does recorded -- it has just that much more character and punch. Not bad, SISTAR, not bad.
4Minute - "Dream Racer" + "Volume Up"
Compared to these 4Minute performances, SISTAR's are so boring, to be honest. "Dream Racer" may not be brilliant, but it's upbeat, and the girls carry it with conviction -- you know they're enjoying it, and the smiles are genuine. And I adored the set of "Volume Up" today. Classy with attitude, like the rest of the performance. And, this is one of the few performances today, and in a long time, that actually gave me actual goosebumps, despite Hyun A's sad attempts at singing. I know, I can't believe it either, but it did.
Big Bang - "Fantastic Baby" + "Bad Boy"
Very few groups can give me goosebumps by just walking, but Big Bang are one of them. They are the definition of holding the audience in the palm of your hand, and they do it with such grace, so little effort, but so much enthusiasm. I don't even particularly like "Bad Boy", but their performance managed to make me genuinely smile for the first time since I started watching Inki today. It's so obvious that they not only show they're happy to be on stage, but they really make it look like it's such a privilege, even if they've stood on much bigger stages before. A true performer should be able to connect with an audience, even through a computer screen. I'm reminded of why I have such immense respect for Big Bang, because they really are performers in the truest sense of the word.
SHINee - "Sherlock"(WINNER)
SHINee's wins have been well-deserved, despite my neutrality towards "Sherlock" as a song. Strong, consistent, vocals, a strong performance, and so much attitude. SHINee have come to that stage where the song doesn't carry them, they carry the song, and they do it well.